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back to article Renault Clio IV and R-Link Android console hands-on preview

To say Renault needs the new Clio to be a hit is an understatement. With its non-’leccy UK range now pared back to just Twingo, Clio, Megane and Scenic, Renault needs the new Mk. IV Clio to sell in greater numbers than the MK. III, which if not a bad car was a little vin ordinaire. Even after just 48 hours of charging around the …

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Anonymous Coward

Finally on The Register, a car review it makes sense to include because of a tech angle

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This post has been deleted by its author

If Apple can patent round corners

Alfa Romeo must regret not patenting the hidden rear door handles on the old 156. They are appearing everywhere.

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

twitter on the dash

That wont cause any accidents will it?

"Lovely view as I go through the windscreen #flying"

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FAIL

Re: twitter on the dash

.... equals #crash

....lol

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standard-fit stereo?

Surely that's the trick ALL ICE manufactures are missing - Android.

Why is my current ICE totally shit. Sure it's got DAB and a clunky USB drive nagivation, but I wish I would ask it to play a particular song or artist, and it just does it, like I can do on my Nexus 7....

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Stupid subscription

The idea of yet another subscription would certainly put me off. Someday soon you won't be able to buy anything that doesn't require some sort of wallet draining tax to keep it fully operational, but until that day comes I'm steering well clear.

Besides, it's not even necessary. The console should be driven off the smartphone in your pocket via bluetooth.

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Re: Stupid subscription

"The console should be driven off the smartphone in your pocket via bluetooth"

Too right. And if they do want it built in, why did they choose Android and Google Maps? Nothing wrong with it as a free OS for a phone (as on my SGS2), and given that I pay nothing for Maps it's not half bad. But if it's built in and costing me money both up front and to run, then the last thing I want is the Google Maps "bong" at critical times.

For those who don't use Google Maps: When you're approaching a junction and the app hasn't a scooby on the directions (eg because it's lost the data connection or the GPS lock), then you get a bong noise that is the electronic equivalent of your wife shouting "Well I don't bl**dy know! If you're so damn clever, why don't you ready the f***ing map!"

Sounds like Renault haven't ever seen a modern smartphone, but have perhaps heard a description of a 2007 model. 4/10 for effort.

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WTF?

Re: Stupid subscription

It has Tom Tom maps for navigation stored on the device and doesn't need a data connection, so I'm not sure what your point is?

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"There may well be good reasons for Renault insisting that one car equals one user account, but it is keeping mum about them at the moment."

Perhaps because Android doesn't support multiple user accounts (yet)?

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Silver badge

I wonder if there is a way logging it off before letting someone else drive it, so that Junior can't read your emails?

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Anonymous Coward

Do you have to root it...

to make it usable?

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Re: Do you have to root it...

I'm nervous about bricking my £400 smartphone - I'd really be bricking it with a £10,000 motor!

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FAIL

no just no

I can see where this is going. I am NOT paying 1p every time I play a tune in the car, nor so much per hour to have teh radio on. Or whatever.

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Re: no just no

The article explicitly stated that the device's TomTom and media player don't require the subscription. Anyway, the alternative is that you would have to pay for the SIM card.

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Surely anyone who wants twitter or email so bad that they need to have it in their car is going to have a smart phone anyway?

And if you have a smart phone, why do you need a cheesy inbuilt system that will be out of date in a couple of years, let alone the likely lifespan of the car.

Why don't manufacturers focus on making the car work with your smart phone - integrate bluetooth hands free, stereo to play from your itunes collection, video and sat nav to playback on screen etc. I know some cars do this already, but few do it well. And makes it easy to handle multiple user accounts - each driver has his/her own phone.

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You mean something like

this?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/27/realvnc_sony/

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Anonymous Coward

Out of date?

The comparison is with a standard ICE unit which could only ever be updated by a dealer and only for a critical recall.

This will at least allow you to add new software, update apps etc (for as long as you pay a subscription) so it already trumps standard ICE.

Any low level device integration will most likely require an iPhone and therefore would be less useful for normal people.

This may not be perfect but it is one of the first on the market so I'm sure it will get better.

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FAIL

Renault

Renault always scored well on the journalist reviews, because they only test them for a day or two. Not even that sometimes.

This conveniently skirts the small issue that nearly all Renaults change their badge to LOTUS at exactly 3 years or 60,000 miles.

LOTUS in the contect of Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious.

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Re: Renault

Renault are part of the CRAP network of French car manufacturers

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Re: Renault

The French seem to have taken over the mantle of producing the worlds most unreliable cars from the Italians (who actually make quite good cars these days).

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Trollface

Quickly Renault!!!

You must patent it now before Apple claim they thought of it first!

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Anonymous Coward

Twitter and email

I hope these systems will only be active whilst the car is stationary. If not, it makes a mockery of the law where you're not allowed to use a non-handsfree mobile whilst driving.

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Anonymous Coward

No thanks

I'm OK with Android on some people's mobile, but I do not want it anywhere near my car. Never.

It is rather entertaining that Renault doesn't really want to take about the real reason for the subscription: Android shipping data back to Google. There is no way on this planet I will allow a permanent uplink from what I'm doing to an untrusted 3rd party, period. Especially not if they "do no evil".

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Still fail.

Why not develop an interface for a Nexus that could be dropped right into the a bracket in the car?

So you can use your personal Nexus as an interface to the car audio if you want. The controls for the Renault system could just be an app that you can install on any Nexus tablet.

Although I think the worry is that someone will develop a head unit replacement that will do just that and the car companies will start to lose all the nice ICE upgrade fees because all the units will be hidden and modular like they used to be with DIN and 2DIN radios.

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Stop

Still still fail

Why would you develop it for one type of device only? Talk about locking it in. So anyone who wants to use it has to also buy the Nexus, or do you propose a Nexus should come as a complimentary accessory.

Either way, making it a remote interface to all compatible android (and other platform) based phones would be a much better idea.

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Re: Still still fail

Why not just build a new system using an existing and fairly cheap tablet at its core?

You have to supply some form of control when you sell the car, the Nexus is a good/cheap to build the system around so the initial unit would come with the Nexus.

Totally remote interfaces aren't as good or responsive, much better to have it hard wired into the system. You need to have it wired to power anyways. There would be nothing to stop you producing different front ends to fit whichever tablet you want as well though.

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Coffee/keyboard

10,595

Bloody hell the price of a base spec Clio has gone up a bit hasn't it? I bought a base spec Clio in 2005 and it cost me 5,995 brand new. That means the price has almost doubled!

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Re: 10,595

Check the small print. They've probably extended the warranty to 5 years.

Which means the engine and gearbox rebuild you'll need in year 3, and replacement of half the suspension, steering and braking systems youll need in year 4 has been built into the purchase price...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 10,595

Yeah, but back then the Clio was the bog standard entry level Renault econo-box. From January 2013 that position will be held by the Dacia Sandero. Price? £5999.

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I rather like the Audi Connect system.

The car connects via wifi or 3G to your Audi Connect (free) account and picks up your uploads, contacts, addresses and settings.

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Anonymous Coward

Too GUI oriented.

Needs to be more thought put into the fact this is for a car.

Where's the HUD?

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Nev
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Go

Coyote

Wonder if iCoyote will be made available for it....?

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MirrorLink

What I really want is MirrorLink (or similar) to become a standard. Keep the intelligence in the phone and use the car as a dumb terminal. Built in data connection, personal apps, music etc and available in any car suporting the standard.

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Joke

so that's how you get decent battery life out of Android device is it?

Build a car around it

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FAIL

They sell you a subscription

Then collect your GPS and car usage data and sell that onto advertisers, government and insurance agencies.

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Alert

Just one question...

Why?

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Anonymous Coward

And is this like OnStar?

And is this system like OnStar, where it can remotely:

Lock and unlock your vehicle ("OK officer, go ahead and search....")

Reprogram any part of your car, including critical systems like the drive train ("Don't worry about him running off - he can't do more than 15MPH now")

Shut down your car remotely ("OK, he won't be going anywhere now")

Listen to the interior ("Oh, you want to hear what they are discussing but can't be bothered to slip a bug in?")

Download all the information from the car's "black box" ("He managed to be out of cell range for a bit - but we know where he was and how fast he was going....")

Of course, OnStar swears - PINKY SWEARS FOR EVARS! - that they would NEVER do any of those things without a warrant (or some other form of paperwork, maybe greenish colored cotton paper?) from the police....

Is this system similarly capable?

One reason why I am not really interested in GM vehicles - it is getting harder and harder to NOT have OnStar rammed down your throat.

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Chz
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FWIW, I think it's hideous. Though I find that notion that it's nice and solid (unlike previous Clios) hysterically funny now that half the parts come from India. (Same platform as the Nissan Micra, which is entirely built in the same factory)

It is nice to see Nissan's little 3-cylinder supercharged Miller-cycle engine get use from Renault. But why not the 1.2L version as well?

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Alert

Engine

It's not the Nissan engine. The 3-cyl turbo in the Clio is a new and entirely different motor.

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Chz

Re: Engine

Ah you're right, it's not the nifty little thing from the Micra. It is still a Nissan HR engine at least. Renault, petrol, and head gaskets still give me the willies. Personally, I think letting Renault design the diesels, Nissan design the petrols, and letting both of them make their own minor customizations is the most genius thing about their unholy alliance. That and when they sent a load of senior management over from Japan to tell Renault how to run a factory - the defect rate nosedived after that.

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Anonymous Coward

build quality

as someone who actually ran a Renault Laguna from 2008 to 2010 (company wagon) I think the opinion of Renault's as unreliable rust buckets is a decade or more out of date. Despite being hammered the Laguna was faultless and very well bolted together. A colleague has a four year old fully loaded Espace (bought new) and swears by it. My eldest boy drives a Megane Coupe. It's less than two years old and so far prefect.

Would I recommend a second hand 2002 Clio to anyone? No. But the new stuff? Every bit as good as the equivalent from Ford, GM etc. And as I say, this is an opinion based on actual first hand experience. Racism aside I struggle to see what the fact that some parts of the car come from a factory in India (assuming that's even true) has got to do with anything.

As for the looks of the Clio, I'm with the reviewer - nice looking car and distinctive too.

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